Tag Archives: Balkans

Portulaca grandiflora

Botanical Name: Portulaca grandiflora
Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca
Species:P. grandiflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Caryophyllales

Synonyms:
*Portulaca hilaireana G. Don
*Portulaca immersostellulata Poelln.
*Portulaca mendocinensis Gillies ex Hook.
*Portulaca multistaminata Poelln.

Common Names: Rose moss, Eleven o’clock, Mexican rose, Moss rose, Sun rose, Rock rose, and Moss-rose purslane, 9’O Clock

Habitat:Portulaca grandiflora is native to S. America – Brazil. Occasionally established in S. and S.C. Europe. It is also seen in South Asia and widely spread in most of the cities with old 18th- and 19th-century architecture in the Balkans. In Pakistan it is called Gul Dopheri, meaning After Noon Flower, as flowers bloom whole after noon in summer’s heat. In Bangladesh, it is called “time fuul”, meaning “time flower”, because the flower has a specific time to bloom. In India, it is called “nau bajiya” or “9 o’clock flower” as it blooms in morning around 9:00 am. In the Philippines,it is called uru-alas dose or like twelve o’clock because it loses its bloom by noon. In Vietnam, it is called “hoa m??i gi?” meaning “ten o’clock flower”, because the flower is usually in full bloom at 10:00 in the morning. Its buds are often chewed by small birds like the house sparrow. It grows on roadsides and waste places in Europe.

Description:
Portulaca grandiflora is a small, but fast-growing annual plant growing to 30 cm tall, though usually less. However if it is cultivated properly it can easily reach this height. The leaves are thick and fleshy, up to 2.5 cm long, arranged alternately or in small clusters. The flowers are 2.5–3 cm diameter with five petals, variably red, orange, pink, white, and yellow.

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It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a rather dry poor soil in full sun. Succeeds in a hot dry position, and dislikes wet soils. Although a perennial when grown in warmer climates than Britain, it is best treated as a half-hardy annual in this country. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse, pricking out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring, though the plants will not grow so large this way.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder and used in soups etc, or can be added to cereals. The seed is very small and fiddly to utilize. Root – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
The entire plant is depurative. It is used in the treatment of hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver with ascites, swelling and pain in the pharynx. The fresh juice of the leaves and stems is applied externally as a lotion to snake and insect bites, burns, scalds and eczema.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca_grandiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Portulaca+grandiflora

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Allium atropurpureum

Botanical Name : Allium atropurpureum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. atropurpureum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common NamesOrnamental Onion

Habitat : Allium atropurpureum is native to E. Asia – N. India.(Hungary, the Balkans, and Turkey.). It grows on the shaded humus rich soils along rocky cliffs, 1900 metres to 2200 metres in the Himalayas.

Description:
Allium atropurpureum is a bulb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).It grows in clumps or bold drifts, for the most dramatic displays, and leave the seedheads standing throughout autumn and winter to add structural interest to the garden. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

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Allium atropurpureum is a fun drumstick allium, bearing a tightly packed ball of maroon-purple flowers on top of a tall, stout stem. It’s native to the Balkans, where it can be found growing in dry, open spaces.

Cultivation:
Allium atropurpureum prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[190]. Judging by its habit, this plant should also tolerate some shade. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of the country, it should tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulbs are 15 – 30mm wide. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses: It is widely grown as an ornamental for its rich, deep purple flowers. Allium atropurpureum makes an excellent cut flower. The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_atropurpureum#cite_note-mildred-1
http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/allium-atropurpureum/214.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+atropurpureum

Rumex aquaticus

Botanical Name: Rumex aquaticus
Family: Polygonaceae
Subfamily: Polygonoideae
Tribes: Rumiceae
Species: Rumex aquaticus
Genus: Rumex
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym: Water Dock
Common Names: Red Dock, Western dock

Habitat : Rumex aquaticus is native to Europe, including Britain but absent from Italy and the Balkans, to N. Asia. It grows in shallow water at the margins of swamps. Fields, meadows and ditches.

Description:
Rumex aquaticus is a perennial plant. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high, very stout; the leaves similar to those of the Yellow Dock, having also crisped edges, but being broader, 3 to 4 inches across. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

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It has properties very similar to those of the Yellow Dock. It is frequent in fields, meadows and ditches. Its rootstock is top-shaped, the outer surface blackish or dark brown, the bark porous and the pith composed of honeycomb-like cells, with a short zone of woody bundles separated by rays. It has an astringent and somewhat sweet taste, but no odour.
Cultivation: A plant of shallow water.
Propagation : Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. Division in spring.

Edible Uses: Leaves are cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
The root of this and all other Docks is dried in the same manner as the Yellow Dock.

The root is alterative, astringent, cholagogue, deobstruent, depurative, detergent, laxative and mildly tonic. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present. It is used internally in the treatment of piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases. Externally, it is applied to various skin diseases, ulcers etc. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis.

Other Uses: …Dye; Teeth…….Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant. The dried and powdered root has a cleansing and detergent affect on the teeth

Known Hazards : Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Rumex_aquaticus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+aquaticus

Primrose

Botanical Name : Primula vulgaris
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula
Species: P. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

synonyms:    Primula   acaulis (L.) Hill

Common Names : Primrose, or occasionally Common primrose or English primrose

Habitat :Primrose is native to western and southern Europe (from the Faroe Island and Norway south to Portugal, and east to Germany, Ukraine, the Crimea, and the Balkans), northwest Africa (Algeria), and southwest Asia (Turkey east to Iran).The plant grows abundant in woods, hedgerows, pastures and on railway embankments.

Description:
Primrose is a perennial growing 10–30 cm (4–12 in) tall, with a basal rosette of leaves which are more-or-less evergreen in favoured habitats. The leaves are 5–25 cm long and 2–6 cm broad, often heavily wrinkled, with an irregularly crenate to dentate margin, and a usually short leaf stem. The delicately scented flowers are 2–4 cm in diameter, borne singly on short slender stems. The flowers are typically pale yellow, though white or pink forms are often seen in nature. The flowers are actinomorphic with a superior ovary which later forms a capsule opening by valves to release the small black seeds. The flowers are hermaphrodite but heterostylous; individual plants bear either pin flowers (longuistylous flower: with the capita of the style prominent) or thrum flowers (brevistylous flower: with the stamens prominent). Fertilisation can only take place between pin and thrum flowers. Pin-to-pin and thrum-to-thrum pollination is ineffective.
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The primrose is one of the earliest spring flowers in much of Europe.  “Primrose” is ultimately from Old French primerose or medieval Latin prima rosa, meaning “first rose”, though it is not closely related to the rose family Rosaceae.

There are three subspecies:

*Primula vulgaris subspecies vulgaris……. Western and southern Europe. As described above; flowers pale yellow.

*Primula vulgaris subsp. balearica (Willk.) W.W.Sm. & Forrest………Balearic Islands (endemic). Flowers white. Leaf stem longer than leaf blade.

*Primula vulgaris subsp. sibthorpii (Hoffmanns.) W.W.Sm. & Forrest Balkans,…. southwest Asia. Flowers pink to red or purple.

Cultivation:
Prefers a medium to heavy moisture retentive humus rich loam in a cool position with light to medium shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. The blooms have a characteristic fragrance of a mossy bank or a deciduous woodland. This species hybridizes readily with P. elatior.

Propagation:     
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Germination is inhibited by temperatures above 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in autumn. This is best done every other year.

Edible Uses:
Both flowers and leaves are edible, the flavour ranging between mild lettuce and more bitter salad greens. The leaves can also be used for tea, and the young flowers can be made into primrose wine.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: The whole herb, used fresh, and in bloom, and the root-stock (the so-called root) dried.

The roots of two- or three-year-old plants are used, dug in autumn. The roots must be thoroughly cleansed in cold water, with a brush, allowing them to remain in water as short a time as possible. All smaller fibres are trimmed off. Large roots may be split lengthwise to facilitate drying, but as a rule this will not be necessary with Primrose roots.

Constituents: Both the root and flowers of the Primrose contain a fragrant oil and Primulin, which is identical with Mannite, whilst the somewhat acrid active principle is Saponin.

Primroses have a very long history of medicinal use and has been particularly employed in treating conditions involving spasms, cramps, paralysis and rheumatic pains. They are, however, considered to be less effective than the related P. veris. The plant contains saponins, which have an expectorant effect, and salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin. The roots and the flowering herb are anodyne, antispasmodic, astringent, emetic, sedative and vermifuge. An infusion of the roots is a good remedy against nervous headaches. The roots are harvested in the autumn when two or three years old and dried for later use. An ointment has been made from the plant and used for treating skin wounds.

Other Uses:  
Makes a good carpet in open woodland and on woodland edges. Plants are best spaced about 35cm apart each way.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primula_vulgaris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/primro69.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Primula+vulgaris

Fraxinus ornus

Botanical Name : Fraxinus ornus
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Fraxinus
Species: F. ornus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonym: Flake Manna.

Common Names:Manna, Manna ash or South European flowering ash

Habitat :Fraxinus ornus is  native to southern Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain and Italy north to Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, and east through the Balkans, Turkey, and western Syria to Lebanon and Armenia. It grows in mixed woodland, thickets and rocky places, mainly on limestone

Description:
Fraxinus ornus is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15–25 m tall with a trunk up to 1 m diameter. The bark is dark grey, remaining smooth even on old trees.
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The buds are pale pinkish-brown to grey-brown, with a dense covering of short grey hairs.

The leaves are in opposite pairs, pinnate, 20–30 cm long, with 5-9 leaflets; the leaflets are broad ovoid, 5–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with a finely serrated and wavy margin, and short but distinct petiolules 5–15 mm long; the autumn colour is variable, yellow to purplish.

The flowers are produced in dense panicles 10–20 cm long after the new leaves appear in late spring, each flower with four slender creamy white petals 5–6 mm long; they are pollinated by insects.

The fruit is a slender samara 1.5-2.5 cm long, the seed 2 mm broad and the wing 4–5 mm broad, green ripening brown.

Edible Uses:
Manna – a sweetish exudate is obtained from the stems by incision. The quality is better from the upper stems. A mild sweet taste[114], its main use is as a mild and gentle laxative, though it is also used as a sweetener in sugar-free preparations and as an anti-caking agent. The tree trunk must be at least 8cm in diameter before the manna can be harvested. A vertical series of oblique incisions are made in the trunk in the summer once the tree is no longer producing many new leaves. One cut is made every day from July to the end of September. A whitish glutinous liquid exudes from this cut, hardens and is then harvested. Dry and warm weather is essential if a good harvest is to be realised. The tree is harvested for 9 consecutive years, which exhausts the tree. This is then cut down, leaving one shoot to grow back. It takes 4 – 5 years for this shoot to become productive. Average yields of 6 kilos per hectare of top quality manna, plus 80 kilos of assorted manna are achieved.

Medicinal Uses:
Manna has a peculiar odour and a sweetish taste.

It was formerly used in medicine as a gentle laxative, but is now chiefly used as a children’s laxative or to disguise other medicines.

It is a nutritive and a gentle tonic, usually operating mildly, but in some cases produces flatulence and pain.

It is still largely consumed in South America and is official in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

It is generally given dissolved in water or some aromatic infusion, but the best Flake Manna may be administered in substance, in doses of a teaspoonful up to 1 or 2 oz.

Usually it is prescribed with other purgatives, particularly senna, rhubarb, magnesia and the neutral salts, the taste of which it conceals while it adds to the purgative effect.

For infants, a piece about the size of a hazel-nut is dissolved in a little warm water and added to the food. To children, 30 to 60 grams may be given dissolved in warm milk or a mixture prepared with syrup, or syrup of senna and dill water.

Syrups of Manna are prepared with or without other purgatives.

Manna is sometimes used as a pill excipient, especially for calomel.

Other Uses:
Fraxinus ornus is frequently grown as an ornamental tree in Europe north of its native range, grown for its decorative flowers (the species is also sometimes called “Flowering Ash”). Some cultivated specimens are grafted on rootstocks of Fraxinus excelsior, with an often very conspicuous change in the bark at the graft line to the fissured bark of the rootstock species.

Known Hazards  : Contact with the sap has caused skin or systemic allergic reactions in some people.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashmn075.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashmn075.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fraxinus+Ornus